sprock·​et ˈsprä-kət How to pronounce sprocket (audio)
: a toothed wheel whose teeth engage the links of a chain
: a cylinder with teeth around the circumference at either end that project through perforations in something (such as motion-picture film) to move it through a mechanism (such as a projector)

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The first movies for which the soundtrack was printed on the film itself—in a narrow strip of spectral lines, next to the sprocket holes, which an optical reader converted to an audio signal—came a few years later. David Owen, The New Yorker, 7 Nov. 2022 In a movie ostensibly built out of cell phone and security-cam footage, how do the visible sprocket holes of celluloid and static reminiscent of VHS tracking problems pop up here? John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 Sep. 2022 Carbon fiber is lashed rather heavily on the Ducati Streetfighter V4 Lamborghini, with the heel guards, rear-seat bodywork, TFT dash cover, ignition-switch cover, rear-sprocket protector and Akrapovič end cap all sporting carbon-fiber construction. Peter Jackson, Robb Report, 2 Sep. 2022 It's propelled along a surprisingly slender chain, anchored on each side of the river, with links an inch wide fed through a sprocket as the crank rotates. Neal Rubin, Detroit Free Press, 14 Aug. 2022 Two electric motors, each delivering eight shaft horsepower, are used; there is one to each rear wheel, the latter being driven by a rugged sprocket and chain system that is geared down to conserve power. B.c. George, Car and Driver, 27 June 2022 All 1990 and early 1991 Miatas were built with short-nose cranks with a fragile keyway where the lower timing belt sprocket was indexed. Dan Edmunds, Car and Driver, 2 Mar. 2022 The Idaho house has an amphitheater, a pond and a round, 12-foot metal sprocket, once used in a Montana mine, decorating its doors. Nancy Keates, WSJ, 5 Jan. 2022 Once the saw pierces the outer fabric, the chain tears into the synthetic fibers below, which so thoroughly entangle the chain and its sprocket that both are stopped dead in their tracks. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, 11 Nov. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sprocket.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


origin unknown

First Known Use

1879, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sprocket was in 1879

Dictionary Entries Near sprocket

Cite this Entry

“Sprocket.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sprocket. Accessed 29 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


sprock·​et ˈspräk-ət How to pronounce sprocket (audio)
: one of many points that stick up on the rim of a wheel shaped so as to fit into the links of a chain
: a wheel having sprockets

More from Merriam-Webster on sprocket

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

A Good Old-Fashioned Quiz

Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?